4 Types of Spaces Employees Need at Work

September 27, 2017

Successful Employees Need Different Environments

Too often, we think of an employee as occupying a single space, such as an assigned cubicle, within the work environment. But employees can perform better when they have different types of work spaces available to them and can choose the environment that is most natural and conducive to their tasks at hand.

In the 1980’s employers provided cubicles to give all employees privacy and the ability to concentrate. By the early 2000’s, workers were asking for more open spaces where they could collaborate and work in groups. Today, employees want a better mix of both quiet, private spaces and open work environments.

An article in Harvard Business Review reported only 55% of workers were able to work in groups without being interrupted, according to a survey by Steelcase. Yet less than 50% of employees had the flexibility to choose different office environments based on the tasks they were performing.

Open Co-working Spaces for Innovation

Co-working spaces are open environments designed for collaboration and impromptu exchanges. These spaces provide open seating without the walls or semi-walls of cubicles. Co-working spaces lend themselves very well to flexible work arrangements. Rather than having an assigned desk (or office), employees and contractors can simply find a space and start using it.

Inc. magazine reported that Millennials prefer co-working arrangements. When surveyed, 84% of respondents said they were more engaged and motivated when coworking.

Quiet Places for Problem Solving and Intense Performance

Some employees need privacy to deal with proprietary information for the business (engineers and executives) or sensitive personal information about employees (HR and legal). Many of these employees simply require a dedicated office.

For employees without a dedicated office, there are still times when they need privacy. Sometimes they need to deal with a personal or sensitive matter and don’t want to do so in front of colleagues. In these situations, private enclaves within the open office allow employees to make a phone call or enjoy a few moments of solitude.

When intense focus is required to perform a task, high performance employees (HPEs) may need a quiet environment to be most productive. When surveyed, 58% of HPEs say they need a private space for problem solving, and 62% find their workplace “too distracting.” For many HPEs, the best quiet space might be a home office. Studies show that remote workers are able to accomplish more than their peers in the office, largely due to fewer interruptions.

Meeting Spaces for Collaboration

To keep the open working spaces from becoming too noisy and chaotic, larger team meetings should take place in dedicated meeting spaces. Most businesses need a variety of meeting rooms:

  • Larger meeting room suitable for executive presentations and large employee gatherings.
  • One or more small meeting rooms, designed for teams to gather and brainstorm. Consider equipping these rooms with whiteboards and the ability to project laptops onto screens.

Since 43% of U.S. workers spend at least some of their time working remotely according to Gallup, meeting spaces should be designed with appropriate conferencing technology, such as teleconferencing, video conferencing, or web conferencing.

Social Spaces for Cohesion and Camaraderie

The fourth type of space employees need is an area for being social with each other. This could be a break room, coffee station, or open seating area. When ‘water cooler chats’ between coworkers take place, people on different teams to get to know each other. Social spaces are conducive to quick, ad-hoc meetings of the mind, where an employee might ask a coworker a question or share an idea.

Give Employees the Spaces They Need with Scheduling Automation

Asure Software’s Full Service Room Scheduling solutions can help your employees schedule meetings and reserve meeting rooms, and Office Hoteling solutions enable mobile, flexible employees to reserve co-working spaces.